Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter • 2 Quincy Street • Nashua • NH • 03061-3116
Mailing address: Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter • PO Box 3116 • Nashua • NH• 03061-3116
YOUR VOICE COUNTS
Food stamp eligibility (SNAP)
Please contact your NH state senator re:bill to restrict eligibility, which could affect 17,000 NH families - please ask the senator to NOT SUPPORT this bill.
Continuum of Care
All are welcome to attend the monthly Continuum of Care meetings at City Hall, 3rd floor, Nashua, usually from 8-9am on the first Wed of the month. There are usually 30-40 people in attendance, representing agencies, support services, elected officials/staffs, religious groups, homeless/formerly homeless persons, and interested citizens. Contact Eileen at Eileen@nsks.org for more info.
VOTING UP IN WARD 4
Ward 4, Nashua, which is the neighborhood in which NSKS is located, had 67% registered voter turnout, not much lower than the citywide percentage. Many thanks to Granite State Organizing Project, the Adult Learning Center, Nashua High School South students/staff, League of Women Voters, free bus service to the polls, and elected/non-elected officials for their help.
NEW STUDY OF HOMELESSNESS
Go to www.nhceh.org/2016CaseStudy
to learn more about coordination to end homelessness.
MINIMUM WAGE RALLY
Granite State Organizing Project is the local organizing group for an increase in the minimum wage for low-wage (such as fast food)workers. Many low-wage workers use food pantries, homeless shelters, and other services because even full-time work does not pay the bills. Please contact Eileen Brady (Eileen@nsks.org) for times of future rallies.
NHHPP GOOD FOR HEALTH & HOUSING-NASHUA TELEGRAPH OP-ED
By Elissa Margolin
After the monthly rent is paid, too many hard-working Nashuans don't have enough left over to pay for all necessities.
In fact, unless a NH family brings in at least $20/hr, chances are good that it is sacrificing necessities like quality child care or nutritious food merely to stay housed.
And before the state legislature authorized the NH Health Protection Program in 2014, seeing a doctor or filling a prescription was, for many families, another sacrifice made in order to keep a roof overhead.
That is why the 80 organizations and businesses that form Housing Action NH support reauthorizing the NH Health Protection Program. Our members are diverse, ranging from affordable-housing developers and financers, to community mental health centers and homeless shelters. All view access to health care as an integral way to help prevent and reduce homelessness.
A significant number of the state's chronically homeless lose their homes due to serious physical or mental illness (or both). Forced to choose between paying the rent or paying to see a doctor about a developing cough or lesion, most people choose to keep a roof overhead and hope for the best. In the meantime, the illness may progress and time missed at work costs them income. Eventually, untreated chronic or serious illness costs the job itself. Without an income, a foreclosure or eviction is inevitable. Access to health care can therefore help prevent some of the economic causes of homelessness.
Access to diagnosis and treatment for physical or mental illnesses can also help someone exit homelessness. The causes of homelessness are complex, and so is the path back to a stable, permanent home. Before the NHHPP extended access to care to more residents of the state, those treatments or medications were given only when someone landed in the emergency department.
With coverage in place, those experiencing homelessness are able to visit a doctor or clinic, a mental health counselor or enter an addiction-treatment program. From there, they may access resources that put them on a path toward a permanent place to live. That could be a return to employment or a better job due to improved health. Or, in the case of those too sick or disabled to work, it could be the documentation they need to access income supports like veterans' benefits or social security to help afford rent.
When someone is off the street, out of the shelter system and on the road to better health, it benefits everyone. It's difficult to get well living on the street or in a shelter. A safe, warm home is the best place to follow a doctor's orders, rest and heal. The ability to keep track of and follow up on appointments and medications, especially for chronic illnesses like diabetes or asthma, or mental health conditions, is hampered when you have no fixed address. When someone is not using the emergency dept. for primary care or a cold-weather shelter, that is a cost savings to the entire system.
The arrival of the NHHPP in 2014 now means 46,000 people in the state are not forced to choose between a warm home and access to medical services this winter. Let's not rescind this critical tool in the fight to end homelessness for our veterans, families and disabled residents.
Elissa Margolin is director of Housing Action NH, a statewide coalition advocating for state and federal policies and investments that preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing and help end homelessness in the state.
NH LEADS IN INCOME INEQUALITY GAP
Channel 9 news business report recently included an interview with a Carsey Institute staffer (https://carsey.unh.edu/) that focused on NH's standing in the income inequality gap. Causes: NH is the only New England state that still has $7.25 as its minimum wage; high cost of living; and the preponderance of low-wage jobs.
Action: Please call your state reps to support an increase in the minimum wage.